Formally organised educational youth groups qualify for our discounted educational group rates. These rates are available for groups of children visiting the zoo as part of an organised, pre-booked trip lead via an organisation/charity/educational institute or similar. This includes:
- Uniform youth groups (e.g. Scouting, Guiding, Boys and Girls Brigade, Sea Cadets, etc.)
- Extracurricular educational groups (e.g. school science club, environmental club, etc.)
- Groups for children with additional support (e.g. at risk youth groups, young carers, etc.)
If you are a member of a different organised educational youth group not included in the above categories, but believe you may be eligible for these reduced rates, please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511 or email email@example.com
Click on link below, or scroll down the page for more details of what is available for educational youth groups and how to book:
All group members must enter the zoo together to benefit from these discounted rates; we do not print out individual tickets.
We require all educational youth groups to book their visit in advance, which is done via our online booking form (see below). Please note that when booking your visit it is fine if your numbers are estimates. We will confirm your exact final numbers of children and adults on the day of your visit.
|Educational Youth Group Child||£9.99|
|Educational Youth Group Additional Adult||£11.99|
|Educational Youth Group Explorer Day||£3.00|
***VAT at 20% is included in these prices which goes directly to the Government.
Booked Educational Youth Group Groups are also offered free adult leader places to ensure adequate supervision. Please see below (Supervision) for details.
Adult carers are admitted free of charge at a 1:1 ratio for any child with physical or emotional disabilities, are the subjects of SEND statements or EHCPs, or can provide other evidence of specific needs. Please note that you must declare the need for these carers on the day of your visit based on the children who attend on the day.
You may be asked for verification of the need for carers at entry.
Educational Youth Group have the option of purchasing Goody Bags in advance at just £2.00 per child (or bag). Just add your requirements to the booking form and these can be arranged for you.
Colchester Zoo requires two weeks notice that you wish to purchase these.
If you have ordered Goody Bags please collect them at the Outpost Shop, on the day of your visit, as you are leaving the zoo.
Educational Youth Group have the option of preorder Orange Calippo Ice Lollies for £1.75 (15p off on-the-day prices).
Colchester Zoo requires two weeks notice that you wish to purchase these. It is fine when booking if your numbers are estimates, we will confirm exactly how many you require when you arrive on the day.
If you have ordered Calippos, please collect these from the ‘Southern Kitchen’ food outlet during your visit. Please note that all Calippos must be collected at the same time.
How to Book
All Educational Youth Group group visits to Colchester Zoo must be pre-booked a minimum of five days in advance in order to qualify for our discounted rates.
After you have filled in the form, within five working days, you will be emailed a detailed document confirming your trip (if you have not received it within that time, please contact our education department). This document will contain a cost breakdown based on your estimated numbers (final numbers, including free adult places, will be confirmed on the day).
If you have any questions about making a booking please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511, 01206 332512 or 01206 331292 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Deposits are not required for Educational Youth Group when they make their booking. As we understand that numbers can change late minute when organising trips for groups of children, we do not accept pre-payment from Educational Youth Group.
Educational Youth Groups must pay on the day, when they arrive, before they will be granted entry into the zoo.
Payment on the day can be via cash or card. Please note, for faster entry the card must be present for payment. For security reasons, we have a limited number of ticketing tills that have capacity to process ‘card not present’ payment, and require specific staff in order to process these types of transactions. If you are paying via card on the day with card not present (e.g. providing card details over the phone), please be aware that while you are able to pay using this method, there may be delays in processing payment in this method, which may slow your entry into the zoo.
We will confirm your final numbers with the leader when they check in on the day of your visit. Please ensure that when they go to check in they know exactly how many children and adults they have with them, and bring all Zoo Passes with them to be scanned. All the children and other adults should remain together (on the coach if you have arrived by one, or an appropriate place outside the entrance) until your main leader has checked in and been issued tickets.
Please note that the entire group needs to enter together to qualify for the discounted rates. All children, adults or other individuals arriving late and entering separately from the group will be charged full price admission at entrance.
Coach and car parking at Colchester Zoo is free of charge.
If arriving at the zoo by coach, the coaches should park in the designated coach car park. Children and other supporting leaders should remain on the coaches while the leader checking in goes to the ticket kiosk to check in with final numbers and provide payment.
If arriving at the zoo in individual cars please ensure children gather in a safe location, not blocking the flow of traffic, within the car park. Children and other supporting leaders should remain in this gathering location while the leader checking in goes to the ticket kiosk to check in with final numbers and provide payment.
After your leader check in has been issued tickets, they should collect the entire group who will then enter the zoo via the main entrance building. The tickets, and any zoo passes being used, will need to be scanned and your group will be counted as you enter.
When exiting the zoo, you will exit the main exit which is through the Gift Shop. If you have purchased any goody bags, please collect them as you exit.
The next bookable Explorer Day is currently being planned for 4th February 2023!
Further details about this session, including how to book will be available on this page closer to the date. If you want to be kept up to date and informed when booking open, please email email@example.com to register your interest.
Are you working on badge requirements, or encouraging your group to learn about endangered animals as part of your visit? Why not book on to take part in one of Colchester Zoo’s Explorer Days.
For an additional £3 per child (in addition to the standard Educational Youth Group entry rates as detailed above), you can book a place on one of our Explorer Days.
These days provide an educational focus about endangered animals. Due to the nature of the topic, these days are recommended for children ages 7 and above, with tailored sessions designed for children ages 7-11 (Brownies, Cubs, etc.) and ages 10-14 (Guides, Scouts, etc.).
What’s included in an Explorer Day:
- Educational Session about endangered species (approximately 1 hour)
- Printed activity pack worksheets about endangered species to use during the rest of your visit
- Goody bag
*please note that the guided tour does not provide any access to any behind the scenes areas
Details about how to book will be available on this page once dates for the next day are finalised.
If you have any questions about the next Explorer Days, or wish to inquiry about availability please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511, 01206 332512 or 01206 331292 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a group map which highlights lunch locations, and other important information for groups. Please be aware that due to special events or other unforeseen circumstances some of these picnic areas may not be available on the day of your visit.
We also have a downloadable general map of the zoo. This map is also available in hard-copy form at the zoo. Please request additional copies at entrance when you arrive if you require them.
If anyone in your group has accessibility needs, click here to see our accessibility page, which has further details including a downloadable access map which shows suggested easier routes to avoid our steep hills.
Colchester Zoo provides a risk assessment guidance sheets with general outlines of potential risks and controls identified (click here for our risk assessment page and full details). This includes our updated Covid-19 risk assessments.
It is strongly recommended that all organisers make a preliminary visit to Colchester Zoo to carry out their own risk assessment before bringing a group of children. Two free familiarisation tickets to complete this visit can be requested after you have made an Educational Youth Group booking (see below for details of how to obtain these tickets).
Pre-trip Familiarisation Tickets
We offer Educational Youth Group leaders two free familiarisation tickets to visit the zoo to plan your day and complete risk assessments. These tickets are only available to registered leaders (they cannot be used by friends or family members).
In order to qualify for these tickets, you must already have a booked Educational Youth Group trip to Colchester Zoo.
If you have already booked your trip and received confirmation of it, please download and complete the following form: Familiarisation Request Form Download
Please note, this form must be sent in at least 10 days prior to your suggested visit date.
You are offered free adult places to ensure your educational youth group has adequate supervision. Children who qualify for carer places are provided free adult carers at a 1:1 ratio and therefore these children will not count towards your free adult ratio. Children using Zoo Passes (gold cards) may enter free of charge, but do not count towards your free adult ratio.
The ratio of free adults to children is:
- Ages 5-10 – One free adult is per 6 paying children
- Ages 10-16 – One free adult per 8 paying children
These are guidelines only. While we require children to be supervised, we do not require these exact ratios. Please base your supervisory ratios on the behaviour of your specific children.
Children ages 14 and younger must be supervised at all times.
Children ages 14-16 require supporting leaders to accompany them into the zoo, but are allowed to traverse the zoo in small independent groups without direct supervision. All unsupervised children must be in uniform and/or otherwise identifiable in the event we need to contact you regarding their behaviour.
All children must be supervised while on the train or in the Gift Shop.
Please be aware that there are other visitors in the zoo at the same time as you, please ensure the children you are responsible for are respectful and use appropriate language.
Educational Youth Groups are offered discounted entry rates because their visit is educational in nature and encouraging their children to learn about animals and the environment. As such, Educational Youth Groups are not permitted to use the Jungle Tumble Soft Play indoor play area.
Educational Youth Group children ages 10 and older are not permitted to use any play areas.
Educational Youth Group children ages 5 – 10 are allowed to use any outdoor play area within the zoo between between 12-2pm only
We have a number of undercover picnic areas around the zoo. These cannot be pre-booked and are available on a first come, first served basis. Please download and see our Group Map showing all of these locations. During wet, cold weather we recommend eating inside the Giraffe Building. Please note that Educational Youth Groups eating packed lunches are not allowed to eat inside our food outlets or cafés.
Please note that there is no lunch box storage available.
If your older children plan to eat at our food outlets, please be aware that on quieter days some of them may not be open. The main café, Penguinis, is always open. On busy days there are often queues at our food outlets. To avoid the queues eat outside of the peak times of 11:30-1:30.
If you are interested in attending Educational Sessions as part of your Educational Youth Group visit, please book a place on one of our “Explorer Days“. Unfortunately, for individual unit there are no bookable sessions available outside of these scheduled days.
If you are visiting with a very large group (e.g. an entire District or Area) please contact the education department directly (01206 332511, 01206 332512 or 01206 331292 or email email@example.com) to disscuss if it would be posible to organise a custom Explorer Day for you. Please note that this is dependant on avaliability and we recommend contacting the education department well in advance.
Colchester Zoo’s educators will come to you!
These sessions will take place at your group’s meeting location at a time convenient to you.
Please note that we do not bring live animals on outreach sessions.
Sessions are available for all age ranges.
Almost all standard educational schools sessions are available for outreach sessions for Educational Youth Groups. Details of all the sessions can be found on the website in the appropriate age category.
To discuss how our sessions can meet your Badge Requirements, as well as availability, please contact our Education Team directly: 01206 332511, 01206 332512 or 01206 331292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outreach is only available from September to the end of May. Outreach session availability is dependent on what is currently booked at the zoo, for this reason we recommend booking outreach sessions as far in advance as possible to ensure that we are available.
Prices start at £100 per session for Educational Youth Groups within a 15 mile radius of the zoo, an additional £5 will be charged per 15 miles travel thereafter. Additional sessions/hour at the same location are charged at £50 each.